Crisis Alert: Crises In The Media

Since 1945 fluoride has been added to water in order to improve the public’s dental health. The topic has often been surrounded by ethics issues. In early 2013, a Harvard study identified that populations with fluoridated water have children with lower IQs and other health issues, including heightened chances of dementia.

The news hype around these revelations can be defended considering news as a ‘voice for the voiceless’ (Ward, 2009) but when does scientific observation, become controversy and not a waste of this medium for a voice. There are years of research that argue for and against the fluoridation of water, one more bit of evidence, shouldn’t make headlines.

Media focuses too much on changes in scientific developments. It’s not about deciding what’s right or wrong, it’s reporting the information for readers to make informed decisions

The media attention around the topic of the adverse effects of fluoridation of water can be seen as fear-mongering. Fear mongering by the media is a way for the company running the story to create ‘hype’ around a trivial issue to keep the story in the public sphere so they can continue to run the story. While this is not illegal, it has various ethical implications, especially when the story appears much more important than it really is, over shadowing other important stories.

Dreher identifies that news is valued more for its cultural proximity, relevance, rarity, continuity, elite references, negativity, composition, and personalisation (2013). It can be said that fluoridation of water has received its unjustified media attention because of these elements. Because of this, Dreher implies that news such as water fluoridation is given more media value than equally as important foreign news stories.

It is important that as media consumers we are aware of global news regardless of it’s proximity and relevance to ourselves. I suggest finding and using regular news networks that, have a global network, are preferably independent and use multiple mediums.


Your Funny vs My Funny

It’s Funny Because I Get It

How many comedy series from outside of your own country do you watch?

Personally, I’m Australian and watch some Japanese, British and American comedy shows but I hardly find them as funny as some of my local shows such as ‘Summer Heights High’, ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ and ‘The Paul Hogan Show’, Australian shows.
Susan Purdie identifies comedy as the breaking of rules involving behaviours and language, although these rules are often subject to cultural barriers. Much like the advertising fail, “where the bloody hell are you?” one cultures joke may be another culture’s insult.

Getting Angry at ‘Angry Boys’

Chris Lilley’s ‘Angry Boys’ was met with some criticism in the US, specifically the character of S’mouse, an African American Rapper and a parody of the mainstream hip hop industry. Looking at this cultural content from different nationalities perspectives can cause different responses.

Comedy is said to be characterised to a locality, meaning Australian comedy is different to American comedy because of location specific references. Other elements that should be taken into consideration include political views and popular demographic. America is infamous for an inability to laugh at themselves where as a lot of Australian comedy is based on mocking our own stereotypes.

There are cases where comedy can breach borders because of a similar ‘cultural DNA’. This means that two cultures that share similarities can sympathise and understand each others comedy. For example, Australia being almost like an evolution from UK culture, people from a UK culture can understand some of the irony behind Australia’s stereotyping comedy.

As we can see in this video, Irish comedian Dylan Moran at the Melbourne comedy festival combining his comedy from the UK and Ireland with Australian comedy for an Australian audience with relative ease. Another thing to note is the abundance of his jokes that ‘mock’ Australia, Australians and Australian ‘things’.

How To Go Global

Comedy is lost in translation when certain specific are just not understood by a culture. This can be overcome be sharing the shows format but localising the script.
With this shows such as ‘The Office’ can be successfully translated, in this case from a dark UK version to a much brighter US version.

Film Industries: A Cultural War

National media industries all over are being faced with a kind of cultural homogenisation and as such are now producing local content for a larger audience to associate a global audience. With the rate of globalisation on the rise, pop media is churning out trends anyone can participate in to a point where these trends are infiltrating cultures in a kind of cultural imperialism (often seen as flowing from the west to the east). As a response to this, audiences are turning to the internet to find something ‘refreshing’, this is where glocalised content comes in.

Productions by world region
The Middle East and Asia are just as big as if not bigger media industries than any other Western nation.

The Defense

David Schaefer and Kavita Karan discuss the topic of glocalisation and hybridity in their article, “Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows”. They identify glocalisation as, “where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenizing forces associated with cultural imperialism”. In this, Shaefer and Karan are saying by hybridising local content with popular global trends, film industries such as India and Hong Kong’s are making a place for themselves in the market instead of conforming to westernised patterns.

Oldboy (2003) Poster
Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy is an award winning Koren thriller reminiscient of a Hollywood action flick but with the intense brutality local to a Korean produced film.

The Neutral

At the same time of all this, there is a film industry developing outside the borders of any nation, this is the transnational film industry. Transnational films are those with no specific place in the world, they may be produced in one nation, filmed in another with a foreign director and cast. “Transnational cinema encourages a shift away from films with a national brand which ultimately would present a shift in critical thinking“; what this post on presents is that transnational film is an extreme hybrid film without the restrictions of a culture or national influence, creating a platform for global issues to be presented in film and accessed in a public sphere.

The Dark Knight (2008) Poster
Consider Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’. Filmed in America with a British director and cast and crew from all over the world

The Attack

The final thing to think about is cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is the act of taking elements of a culture and using them in a way that doesn’t incorporate their original meaning, essentially, stealing cultural aspects. This would happen in a film that takes influence from a culture but doesn’t reference or address it appropriately. The popularisation of an appropriated culture can devoid it of meaning as a culture, re working it as all access pop material. E.g tribal tattoos without reason.

Avatar (2009) Poster
James Cameron’s Avatar has been scrutinised for it’s themes and story which appears similar to stories from the Hindu culture but the film doesn’t recognise the origins of it’s story.